Tuite, Don
June 2005
Electronic Design;6/30/2005, Vol. 53 Issue 14, p89
Trade Publication
This article discusses breakthroughs at several scales that are expected to alter technologies for harnessing sustainable power resources. Fuel cells are tantalizing because fuel-cell energy conversion is twice as efficient as combustion. Direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs), a smaller variety of polymer-electrolyte-membrane (PEM) cells that extract hydrogen directly from methanol, are the technology of choice for powering personal electronics. Big, mains-power-generating stationary fuel-cell systems may include solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) or, alternatively, designs that use either phosphoric acid or molten carbonate electrolytes. Among all alternative technologies, solar is the closest to economic sustainability. Green nuclear power? Researchers continue to explore new ways of generating nuclear power, hopefully without the consequences of another Sellafield or Chernobyl catastrophe. The best representative of that today is the South African 170-MW Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR).


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